HomeNewsElon Musk Jabs Russian Officials Over Ukraine Internet Outages

Elon Musk Jabs Russian Officials Over Ukraine Internet Outages

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TIME)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk roasted Russian officials on Twitter after he sent Starlink internet terminals to Ukraine during Russia’s invasion.

Musk sent out the Starlink terminals earlier this week when Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov reached out to Musk directly. Fedorov apparently feared that Ukrainian citizens wouldn’t have access to reliable internet during the attacks. Musk officially activated Starlink in the country on Saturday, Feb. 26.

According to The New York Post, when Russian officials heard about Musk sending out Starlink, they blasted him on a Russian state television channel. A woman on Twitter tweeted the link to the channel, which featured Roscosmos Director-General Dmitry Rogozin.

Per Katya Pavlushchenko‘s translation, Rogozin mentioned how Elon Musk appeared to “choose his side” between Ukraine and Russia. Even though Starlink is supposed to be a “purely civilian” service.

Elon Musk replied to the tweet and said, “Ukraine civilian Internet was experiencing strange outages – bad weather perhaps? – so SpaceX is helping fix it.”

Bad weather indeed. Musk made it clear that Starlink’s services are serving a civilian purpose, just to Ukrainian civilians specifically.

Before Elon Musk sent out his cheeky tweet aimed at Russia, the SpaceX CEO also sent out a warning. Several sources claimed that Russia could use the Starlink devices as “beacons” for airstrikes. So Musk himself took to Twitter with a message for Starlink users in Ukraine.

“Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution,” Musk wrote on Twitter.

He also took the tie to answer specific questions related to his warning. When asked to specify what he means by “use with caution,” Musk said, “Turn on Starlink only when needed and place antenna away as far away from people as possible.”

Essentially, Musk warns civilians not to use it 24/7, but only in case of emergency. He also added, “Place light camouflage over antenna to avoid visual detection.”

Another Twitter user asked Elon Musk, “Could Starlink also be under the threat of a cyberattack from Russia, like how Viasat was a few weeks ago?”

The billionaire responded, “Almost all Viasat Ukraine user terminals were rendered permanently unusable by a Russian cyberattack on day of invasion, so … yes.”

When another user asked if it was possible to stop that sort of cyberattack on Starlink, Musk replied, “Game on.”

Federov, the Ukrainian prime minister, thanked Musk after Starlink arrived. He posted a picture of one of the large terminals and wrote, “Starlink — here. Thanks, @elonmusk.”

According to The New York Post, Federov also said, “Starlink keeps our cities connected and emergency services saving lives!”

Check back here for more updates on Elon Musk’s efforts with Russia and Ukraine.